After Don by Ryan Quinn Flanagan


After Don

was released
the bed beside me sat empty
for the entire day.

I got used to the idea of being alone.
Loneliness was wonderful because if I couldn’t
be dead then I wanted to be alone.

It was the next best thing.
Closing the door over just enough
that the nurses did not become alarmed.

Then they brought him in.
Just after evening pill pass.
In handcuffs with two Johnny laws.

And I remember the look on his face.
Not fearful, just blank like mine.
The sound of the shackles as they rattled
against the metal underside of the bed.

And how his name was Bart.
And how he was a chef from the island
that was worried about his dog.

We got on great because he decided to be
social somewhere else
and I just wanted to be left alone.

One night he caused a fight on the unit.
Some girl he had talked to had decided that
he was her boyfriend and when he talked to another
girl all hell broke loose.

I remember him rushing back into our room mad
because he couldn’t watch the world series.
Whenever there was a fight, the whole unit
was on lockdown.

When I left for the final time,
I introduced him to my wife and
we shook hands goodbye.

We wished each other luck.
Then I was gone.

I’m sure my bed was filled
by that late afternoon.

has a long waiting

That two hour drive back home
with the rooftop open.

So I could see the sky
for the first time
in months.


© 2018 Ryan Quinn Flanagan


Follow Ryan


Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and many bears that rifle through his garbage. His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, BlogNostics, Literary Yard, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review.


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